We’ve discovered that almost no matter where you are, hummingbirds will find a newly hung feeder in a matter of days, if not hours. So when we set up camp in upstate New York just as the fall migration was taking off, we assumed we could count on thirsty visitors before long.
The day after we put up our portable nectar feeder on a lower branch of a maple tree, however, one of the first visitors wasn’t a hummingbird at all. It was a Baltimore Oriole, twice the size and about 10 times the weight of the Ruby-throated Hummingbird common there.
Too large for the tiny perches on the feeder, the oriole at first seemed to wrestle with the contraption to get a foothold. He climbed on the top for a time, then draped himself over the edge and sipped the sweet sauce practically upside down. The feeder swung like a trapeze, tipping this way and that as this bird tried out different tactics. Most intriguing, the hummingbirds that also found their way to our campsite, sat patiently in the nearby branches, waiting for their turn as if they’d been through this before.